Monthly Archives: November 2015

A Delayed Document of Learning

Because Documents of Learning are totally effective after said project.

GOALS

A goal that guided my project was to convey the struggles and misogyny Clara suffered, while she continued to search for her creative freedom and her musical voice. I was also guided by a quote that Clara had written in her diary, which greatly impacted my view on her.

“I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose — there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?”

I wish that I had elaborated on this more, and compared the struggles that Clara faced back then to some modern oppression today. I was drawn to her because she faced just as many problems as her male counterparts, and had to deal with the blatant sexism of the 19th-20th century.

I wanted to convey her resilience, her genius, her talent, her passion… but above all, I set out to prove that talent can creep out of the darkest holes and the most unsuspecting places.

SPEECH

As a petrified public speaker, this was one of the most difficult parts of the project. I mean, one of my IEP goals is to improve confidence/clarity/general public speaking, so I thought to myself, “If you can get through the speech alive, I guarantee that the rest of Eminent will seem easy” (how wrong I was), with thoughts of the worst case scenarios running through my mind: falling on stage, losing my place in the speech, freezing up– all that fun stuff. Luckily, my speech, although not without its mistakes, went better than I thought. Practice makes okay.

A few things I need to work on include voice projection, and length. I’ve consistently managed to exceed speech lengths every single year, and I thought, “7 minutes should be plenty of time to go over what I need to say!” According to my trusty pal Kaleigh, I just exceeded that. I mean, seriously, if I don’t share my thoughts in class (ever), how do I make a 7+ minute speech? Another mystery of life that remains to be solved. I also need to work on character. My character was supposed to come across as psychotic, and was supposed to die at the end, but I wasn’t confident enough to convey that.

Here is my speech, sans the last minute notes I scribbled right before the performance.

LEARNING CENTRE

My learning centre… Well, let’s just say it was subpar to some of the other’s I saw, and I’m being completely honest here. I got so absorbed with perfecting, writing, and re-writing my speech and my committee work that I underestimated how much time and care I would need for my learning centre. Goal for next year’s NotN: Start working on learning centre BEFORE speeches are over. I also spent WAYYY too much time on my tiny piano and finding quotes which I thought were interesting and said a lot about Clara’s life, but because of the way I presented it, no one read it.

For my learning centre, I tried to semi-recreate Clara’s composition space, using staff paper, Katrina’s pencil, an old metronome, and a picture of Clara in her prime. A sign I hung on “her” chair read “Kein Larm”, German for “No Noise”. Upon reading that her husband claimed that her piano-playing was distracting to his composition, I read more and found that the only time she had to practice was one or two (if she was lucky) hours at the end of the day to play her pieces while her husband was out getting drinks.

I also conducted a survey with everyone who stopped by my learning centre, gathering information from the general public (see next post for details).

Also, huge congratulations to Brian for getting the pizza orders under control.

Night of the Notables: The Rush of a Notable Night and Everything In-Between

Well, it’s over. It was kind of sad, actually. Kaleigh and I kept exchanging hugs, because although TALONS is not even 4 months in, everyone is so close. The relief that came as soon as I walked into the TALONS room was insane, with everyone munching on the leftover oreo cookies salsa. I agree, it felt like the end of an era, regardless of how short an era it was. We were all there for each other, dishing out advice, edits, and encouragement, and I really feel like I’ve found my tribe. During NotN, I learned that the toughest of storms come to an end, Kaleigh is really good at attracting alumni with Duplo blocks, Francisco needs to carry a Tide-to-Go stick everywhere, and we need to figure out laptop speakers for Andreas before an important event comes. All of this, and that we can all find a way to keep it together on little-to-no sleep.

I wish I had made my learning centre more interactive, but I was satisfied with the interest that I received. I spent most of my time talking to the people who walked by, having a few very interesting conversations. I took a mini poll to see the areas of awareness/interest in Classical music by having people write down a composer they were familiar with. I was not at all surprised to see the names Mozart and Beethoven pop up quite often. There were a few people, however, who were familiar with a few obscure composers, which made my night (VANESSA AND KALEIGH). I was surprised to see that the results turned out to be quite similar to what I had anticipated. (Feat. my goldfish-shaped eighth notes)12244062_209582702706888_732820994_n 12248640_209582712706887_1514187542_n 12270291_209582722706886_953375732_n

Shoutout to Katrina and Vanessa for their last-minute painting skills, and to everyone for making this such an incredible night, and for putting up with me in the home-stretch.

 

Heads-up to next year’s 9s: Y’all better use our Night of the Notables welcome sign.

Bibliography and Interview: Because no one does anything alone

-Of course, I could have used more sources. Of course, given the chance, I would have done more research. Of course, I would have learned more if I could have. But everything comes to an end, and for Eminent ’15, here are the sources I used.

Ansay, A. Manette: “Good Things I Wish You“: Harper Perennial Publishing: 2009: print (https://vpl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1866978038_good_things_i_wish_you)                                                        This fictional book elaborates on the already dramatic relationships Clara had with her husband, Robert Schumann, and the young composer Johannes Brahms. Includes many good quotes, themes and diary entries which I used in both my speech and learning centre.

Steegman, Monica: “Clara Schumann”: London: Haus Publishing: 2004: print (https://vpl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1269443038_clara_schumann)                                                                             Biography of Clara Schumann, also contains many useful facts, in both her lifestyle and relationships, and quotes, which I used within the smaller components of my project.

Clara Schumann Wikipedia Article                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I caved. I mostly relied on this source for prominent dates (such as birth and date), and for a few major biographical details that may not be in print.

List of Works by Clara Schumann                                                                                                                                                          A list of Clara Schumann’s works, with and without Opus numbers. Gives a few links, and was a helpful source in terms of seeing the volume of Clara’s impact on the performance repertoire, and was helpful in choosing music for my Learning Centre.

“Bittersweet Symphonies”                                                                                                                                                                       A recount of the twisted, doomed relationship between Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann. This source inspired an alternate POV for my speech which, although it contained many good options and could have been successful, went unused.

ZAP Shakespeare Sonnets: An Analysis

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

          “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…”

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

 

Recognize any of these quotes? Although many people are familiar with the above quotes, or maybe even know where they’re from, I bet you that most people don’t know how these quotes are written. How, you ask? First, we must understand the basics of the Shakespearean Sonnet.

William Shakespeare (you all know who he is) frequently used iambic pentameter in his sonnets. What is that? Well, if we dissect this term, we get the two separate components of iamb and pentameter. In poetry, a group of two syllables is called a “foot”. An “iamb” is a foot that has a stressed syllable follow an unstressed syllable. Pentameter is a type of poetic meter, which uses five (penta) feet in a line. If the feet happen to be iambs, there you have iambic pentameter! (But don’t get me started on tetrameter, trimester, hexameter, heptameter…) Most of the above (and wayyy below) quotes are written with this exact form, some of which use the rhyme scheme described below (next paragraph).

Now, Shakespeare’s sonnets used a 14-line system: the first 12 lines composed of 3 quatrains, each with 4 lines, in which the initial theme or problem is stated; the last 2 lines, a couplet, solves the problem, acting as a conclusion. Complete sonnets typically follow a rhyme scheme of “abab cdcd efef gg”. Although Shakespeare usually stays true to the typical sonnet form, he creates his own variations, sometimes straying from the rhyme scheme, stressed syllable order, or number of syllables per line– however, the sonnets can all be identified due to the fact that they usually abide by the rules of sonnet-writing. Themes that he frequently used were those of love and nature. Shakespeare also wrote his sonnets using three central characters: the Fair Youth, the Dark Lady, and the Rival Poet.

I decided to give sonnet-writing a try. Sonnets have a pretty difficult structure, so I thought I could apply written knowledge to other assignments. I kept many elements, such as the rhyme scheme, characters (Fair Youth and Dark Lady), and variations, such as adding the occasional extra syllable, or changing the order in which a syllable was stressed. (Read further analysis below sonnet.)

 

From the edges of his gaze he does see

A maiden who sings words that part her lips;

Pure beauty, such that brings him to his knees,

O! he longs for the tender touch of her kiss.

For her hair, wherefore that the night doth bring,

Is as dark as his is fair, spun with sun;

She is beyond compare, the bells doth ring,

Into his needing arms, he wills her run.

And as he is consumed with the hell fires

Of lust, acrimony lurks e’er within;

The mistress cometh, to let ebbing desire

Yet he turns his back, letting guilt win.

We lie, still with the poison of our greed,

At the day’s end, what true more did we need?

-Mimi Kim 2015

My sonnet contains different content than the norm. Its subject matter is a little darker than the typical sonnet, seeing as most of Shakespeare’s tell tales of romance, love stories, and beautiful nature. I decided to stray more towards the “tragedy” side of drama, drawing inspiration from the Serialism-Era opera “Wozzeck” by Alban Berg, in which a tortured soul kills his wife for her infidelity and drowns, and from the tragic end of Shakespeare’s love story Romeo and Juliet, taking subject matter from their suicide for love. I decided to do a dark parody of people who kill their cheating partners (inspired by Wozzeck); a tragic mirror of Shakespeare’s romantic sonnets. As a whole, it depicts the tale of a young man, whose greed eventually led to his demise.

The mood starts out quite light, as we see a man in love with a lady, starting with a description through the Fair Youth’s eyes, describing the pure, innocent, beauty of the Dark Lady. However, as the sonnet progresses, we eventually see the darker side to this unrequited love. (As the author, I intended for the audience to possibly realize that Fair Youth already has a significant other, which I depicted with his turning away from her eventual return of his affection. I also referred to her as the mistress, hinting that she is not alone in holding the Fair Youth’s heart.) The one-sided love progresses, climaxing as the Dark Lady begins to return the affections shown to her by the Fair Youth. Everything in him is more than willing to accept, save for the fact that “acrimony lurks e’er within” (Quatrain 3, line 2). You’ll notice that in “The mistress cometh, to let ebbing desire” my use of the word “let” doesn’t quite make sense. However, in Shakespearean language, the word “let” took on a double meaning, one of which meant “to stop, or impede”. In the end, “We lie, still with the poison of our greed” takes on a literal meaning, in which I strongly suggest that the Fair Youth’s adulterous feelings and guilt drive him inwards, leading him to kill himself.

In the sonnet’s last line, “At the day’s end, what true more did we need?” I decided to be a little unconventional and use the word “more” as more of a noun, using it to describe excess. This last line is supposed to convey the regret the Fair Youth has from straying from his true lover. “At the day’s end” really means at the end of his life, and “what true more did we need?” asks us, was whatever we desired worth the rest of our life? Was it really necessary for him to be dissatisfied with his current relationship? Clearly not, as his regret turns into something much more drastic. What more did the Fair Youth truly need? My Shakespearean sonnet, although different in content, definitely followed the German Expressionism movement in art, which explored the darker corners of human emotions (hate, regret, and fear).

This was a lot harder than I expected; I ran into lot of unexpected problems, such as keeping it short enough. Sonnets are too short to tell a detailed story, but they aren’t so short that they can be bleak and sans imagery and detail. Especially for someone like me, who likes to make my writing detailed and deep, rather than short and sweet, this was an especially difficult part of my project. However, I loved experimenting with this style of writing, since I don’t usually write poetry. It was really fun analyzing, learning about, and writing my own sonnet. If I were more confident in my public speaking skills (and if I had more time), I would have written/performed my entire presentation in Shakespearean sonnet form, complete with Ye Olde English. Will I pursue Shakespeare in the future? Probably. Will I revolutionize sonnet writing? Probably not. However, I loved this project, and it will help me in the future, not just for Shakespeare, but for reading/writing other materials as well.

“To be or not to be, that is the question.”

“The expense of spirit is a waste of shame.”

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

 

 

“If I Had a Million Dollars…”

Ah, the Vancouver library. I had passed by the grand place several times, but had never actually been inside. I expected shelves of books, and the same materials that were any other library. I wandered around the place with Katrina, looking at 20151014_100032each level and “warming” myself up for the floor that was really about my eminent person, until finally, I made my way up to the art, music and history floor. What I didn’t expect to find was, as both a book and music lover, nirvana in the music section. Let me just say, the VPL has an amazing selection: the music section was not just limited to biographies and facts, but included music scores as well. I was surprised at all the books that were relevant to my eminent person, Clara Schumann! I left the library happy, with a non-fiction book, fiction book, and orchestral score (just because). Surprisingly (having just finished my borrowed material), the fiction book was much more helpful than the non-fiction book, in terms of writing my speech. Before we left to eat, I got the chance to quickly look at an art display that was up outside of the library.

Lunch, although probably the least part of the trip, was pretty enjoyable. It gave us all time to relax, socialize, and prepare (at least for me) for the next party of the field trip. I split a tempura udon with Vanessa, and (forgive me Kaleigh) bought a lemonade.

 

Now, I don’t want to exaggerate, but as soon as I left the book store, I could have locked myself up in a hole because MacLeod’s bookstore was all that was missing in my life. I wandered around in the store at first for a while, aimlessly wandering and browsing through the old books. I felt a little disappointed, not knowing what I should do, until Ms. Mulder came up to me and sai20151014_132242d, “You know, there’s a music section over there.”

That was all it took.

I spent the next hour in the music section, tenderly flipping through all of the books. It was heaven, it was sheer bliss. Book after book, I couldn’t stop. I lost track of time, reading about the different Eras, biographies of composers, and music scores. If I had a million dollars, I would stop at MacLeod’s book store. I needed about 4 more hours in there. I was totally transfixed in the shelves of musty history books, each one seeming more interesting than the next. In the end, I left the store with 3 books, two as gifts, and one that would help with eminent, and would also be an enjoyable read.

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In the end, the entire trip was inspiring. Both the library and the book store provided vital information for my project, and the artsy atmosphere of the bustling city helped develop the trip even more. Hopefully, the good memories of this trip won’t fade as I put my nose to the grindstone, and do my best to honour Clara Schumann. VPL, MacLeod’s Bookstore, you haven’t seen the last of me yet.